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Fantasy Basketball Category Analysis: Week 19 (2020)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Feb 28, 2020

Whelp, the conversation happened again on Twitter this week. It’s one that pops up every year at some point. No, not if Dwight Howard is a slam-dunk Hall of Famer (he is). No, it’s worse than that.

It was league-shaming.

See, the Grizzlies, as you’ll read about below, suffered two key injuries this past week, losing Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke for the next couple of weeks. Being that it’s the playoff push, teams were frustrated and complaining that they lost two of their best players. That brought out the league-shaming crowd, highlighting that roto is the best and only format.

Look, play what you want. There’s a luck factor in head to head, and it sucks when an injury derails your team, or when you suffer a fluke loss in the playoffs. That’s the format, and you know it going in. But to act like roto is without its warts is wrong, too. It’s the reason so many people lose interest in the middle of the season because they know they are out of it. 

One is not better than the other. No matter the format, the size of the league, or the platform you play on, do what makes you happy and brings you joy. This is a game we play for fun, after all. 

Every other week, I’m going to be looking at players who are widely available and rostered in fewer than 60 percent of fantasy leagues on Yahoo. We’ll be focusing in on 8-cat leagues because turnovers are a waste of a category, to be honest. We’ll be looking at players who can help you in each of the eight categories who you can get before your league-mates catch on.

The eight categories we’ll focus on each week are:

  1. Points
  2. Rebounds
  3. Assists
  4. Steals
  5. Blocks
  6. Threes
  7. Field-goal percentage
  8. Free-throw percentage

Let’s get to it.

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Points

Coby White (PG – CHI): 57% owned
White has been on a hot streak of late, and it doesn’t even matter that he’s coming off the bench. He’s played at least 30 minutes in six of his past seven games, and he’s crossed the 30-point plateau in each of his past three. The upside is obviously huge with White, and with the Bulls staring up at the competition, he should get plenty of run the rest of the way. This is your last chance to get him.

Rebounds

Naz Reid (C – MIN): 30% owned
Here’s hoping that you picked up Reid before the All-Star Game and not after, as he’s gone up 27 percent since we last spoke. He’s provided top-70ish value so far filling in for KAT, and he offers boards, blocks, and points. While KAT says that he wants to play again this season, the Wolves have no reason to run him back out there. Grab Reid while you can. He has league-winning potential.

Assists

Derrick White (PG/SG – SAS): 42% owned
Coach Pop won’t usurp Brynn Forbes from the starting lineup, but White is making the most of his minutes off the bench. Over the past two weeks, he’s giving you 8.7 points, 4.3 boards, and two assists with the second unit. He finished the season strong last year for the Spurs, and with San Antonio in the hunt for a playoff spot, expect an increased usage for White down the stretch.

Steals

De’Anthony Melton (PG/SG – MEM): 8% owned
Melton has been bad — really bad. And it hurts as a truther. However, with the injuries that are hitting the Grizzlies, Memphis is going to be running out a lot of small-ball lineups featuring Melton, Ja Morant, and Tyus Jones on the court at the same time. Practice patience with him, especially if you need steals.

Blocks

Gorgui Dieng (PF/C – MEM): 34% owned
Speaking of the Grizzlies, Dieng has his second opportunity to put up solid fantasy numbers for a stretch as Brandon Clarke and Jaren Jackson Jr. are out for the new few weeks. He did an admirable job filling in for KAT earlier this year in Minnesota, and you can expect much of the same for him with the Grizz.

Threes

Shake Milton (PG/SG – PHI): 10% owned
Milton has been the benefactor of Ben Simmons’ injury. He played a whopping 37 minutes Wednesday, hitting four shots from downtown. He’s a deeper-league play, but take the production while you can. 

Field-goal percentage

Eric Paschall (SF/PF – GSW): 30% owned
The return of Stephen Curry won’t impact Paschall, who has become an afterthought after his early-season play. But Paschall should still log plenty of minutes at the three and four, which could mean a slight boost in production with the return of the Chef. 

Free-throw percentage

Dillon Brooks (SG/SF – MEM): 43% owned
Honestly, Brooks was listed in the three-point territory, but Milton needed a spot to reside. Brooks has been a surprise this season, and like Dieng and Melton, he’s going to play an expanded role with the rash of injuries. 

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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